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DeKalb County Fire Chief Resigns Suddenly

11:16 PM, Feb 1, 2010   |    comments
  • David Foster resigned as Chief of DeKalb County's Fire-Rescue Dept. on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010
  • Ann Bartlett died in a house fire in Dunwoody on January 24.
    
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DEKALB COUNTY, Ga -- The shake-up at the DeKalb County Fire Department continues and has now reached the top.

Late Monday afternoon, the fire chief himself, David Foster, resigned.

DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis did not give a reason in his brief press release.

The timing of the resignation is striking, since the fire department is under investigation because of the death of Ann Bartlett in a house fire in Dunwoody on January 24.

On January 29, Foster fired four of the firefighters who responded to Bartlett's house fire, accusing them of neglect of duty.

Ann Bartlett was 74 years old and was using an oxygen machine. She had called 911 to say her house was on fire and she was unable to get out.

Then her phone line stopped working.

Soon after the firefighters arrived at her house, they left, because they did not see any flames. They never knocked on her door.

Five hours later flames broke through the house and neighbors called 911, but Ann Bartlett had already died.

Now the tragedy, and the firefighters, are under criminal investigation.

David Foster had been DeKalb Fire-Rescue Chief since January of 2003.

Monday night, Ann Bartlett's neighbors said they want answers and changes.

"It's extremely sad," said Maria DeArenas, "because she counted on the firefighters and they were not there for her."

"I think it was negligence on their part," said Tom Brooks, who lives next door to Bartlett's burned home, and says he is still incredulous at what happened. "And hopefully, this won't happen again. I hope a lot of people have learned some lessons."

Ann Bartlett's daughter, Ruth Bartlett, told 11Alive News on the phone Monday that the family preferred to say nothing about the chief's resignation.  She repeated what family members said last week, that they are just waiting as the investigation proceeds and they don't want this to happen to anyone else.

DeKalb CEO Ellis appointed Deputy Fire Chief Eddie O'Brien to be Acting Chief.

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